Boks on Tour
Mallett: Boks have RWC plan
London – South Africa fell between chairs with their tactics in the early stages of Saturday’s defeat to the Barbarians, but that does not have to be a concern ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“South Africa will take the game against England with them to the World Cup, not the game against the Barbarians,” said Baabaas coach Nick Mallett after his team’s 26-20 win at Twickenham.
“I think the way South Africa played against England is what we can expect from the Boks at the World Cup.
“They will pick big and athletic forwards. South Africa are very good at set-piece and will drive the ball up until they get momentum and then give the ball to the backs when there are no defenders left.”
Mallett believes Saturday’s game was one of contrasting halves, with his team outstanding in the first and then forced to defend in the second once South Africa started playing to their strengths.
“I take my hat off to my players for their performance in the first 30 minutes. It was some of the best rugby I have seen in the last month’s internationals. We got good ball and the backs used it very well,” he said.
“South Africa later started putting us under pressure in the scrums and we lost Rodney So’oialo and our No 8 (Colin Bourke) with injuries. We lost some physicality at the breakdown and started struggling at set-piece.
“The team defended really well and made South Africa work hard for those two tries at the end. They were good tries and typically South African. They had driven the ball up strongly and attacked the blind side when we had no-one left. Well done to them.”
Mallett believes the Boks struggled in the first half because they did not play to their strengths. He also pointed out that a number of injured players still had to return for South Africa.
“They moved away from their driving game and tried to play Ryan Kankowski into space and use one-off runners out wide. When South Africa do that they are not well organised at the breakdowns. We won some vital turnover possession,” he said.
“But look at who was not there. Fourie du Preez is one of the best scrumhalves in the world, Morné Steyn is a match-winner, there are two huge centres in Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie, as well as Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn. South Africa have hundreds of good players.”
As far as emerging talent is concerned, Mallett has been impressed by Patrick Lambie and Lwazi Mvovo.
“Lambie played an excellent Currie Cup and it will be exciting if he can carry that into Super rugby. Mvovo took his try against England very well and was brave in the way he competed in the air for the ball against Adam Ashley-Cooper. He looks a very good player.”